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Mad dogs and Englishmen
July 19, 2013 11:44 AM   Subscribe

An unusually sustained heatwave oppresses the UK, as temperatures have climbed above 82 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 days, the longest hot spell since 2006. Roads melt in England and Wales, rail lines buckle in England and Scotland, hospital admissions spike and wildfires burn. Swimming-related, army training and heat-related, deaths have increased. The Met Office currently hold a Level Three Heat Advisory for several regions (Level Four is "National Emergency"), while tabloids indulge in traditional "England is hotter than {exotic place}" headlines.

Though other countries may find these temperatures normal, and have the infrastructure to cope, a "Mintel report in 2008 found that just 0.5% of houses and flats in the UK had any kind of air con."

While English beaches are often crowded, those at the other end of Britain remain quiet. The British summer tradition of the hosepipe ban has not yet taken effect.
posted by Wordshore (263 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tarmac is melting at 86 degrees Fahrenheit? (30 degrees Celsius)? Seriously?
posted by wellvis at 11:51 AM on July 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


I can understand how the lack of air-conditioning -- and buildings designed without adequate airflow -- may cause problems, but can someone explain the rail lines buckling? On preview, yeah, also the asphalt?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:52 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


In the US similar story: ‘Drunken’ Weather Pattern Leads to Deadly Heat. The Bermuda High, usually over Bermuda, has moved eastward and camped out over Michigan (against all common sense).
posted by stbalbach at 11:52 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


From link two: "Highways officials said UK roads were laid with bitumen graded for colder weather."
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:52 AM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wordshore: "Roads melt in England and Wales"

It's been in the high 90's here in NYC for a couple of weeks. Nothing has melted here yet. But a couple of years ago we had the same problem.
posted by zarq at 11:53 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, once I had to wait 6 hours for a train in North Carolina because it had been too hot that day and it had screwed up the rails somehow. It's a thing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:53 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


wellvis: Tarmac is melting at 86 degrees Fahrenheit? (30 degrees Celsius)? Seriously?

There's a good explanation of what's going on here.
posted by Len at 11:53 AM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


Although lack of infrastructure to handle the temps is at the core, acclimation makes a difference as well.

I live in a place that's regularly 100+ from May to September and I don't even turn on the AC until the thermostat inside my house reads 85.

In the winter the heater's thermostat is set at 65 because I am a cheap bastard. Put on some socks and a sweater!
posted by elsietheeel at 11:53 AM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Here in Canada the asphalt doesn't melt so much as the tires do; you get glistening strips of shiny melted rubber near stop signs. It's because tire rubber is formulated for stickiness in the winter. Passenger car tires generally hold up okay, but truck and farm implement tires go all gooey when the road surface gets super hot for days.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2013


rabbitrabbit: "but can someone explain the rail lines buckling? "

From 2010: Heat Wave Causes Kinks in Rail Tracks.
posted by zarq at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2013


Reddit's British Problems gives a real feel for how unaccustomed these issues are to those living in the UK.

London's forecast suggests that this isn't letting up any time soon. Boston is also in the midst of a heat wave, but at least our offices and shops have AC, and it's forecast to break Sunday.
posted by pie ninja at 11:55 AM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's apparently good for butterflies.

Also there was a "why do people in the UK think 30+C is hot?" AskMe earlier this week.
posted by seemoreglass at 11:55 AM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


zarq: Yeah, but that talks about triple-digit heat, not 82 degrees.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2013


Oh, so this is actually really interesting:

"The act of stressing rail induces the proper rail neutral temperature so that there will be no fracturing or buckling at the temperature extremes. Since environmental extremes will vary, there is no universal rail neutral temperature. In the UK all rail is stressed to 27°C (81°F), the mean summer rail temperature). US standards range from 35 to 43°C (90 to 110°F), depending in large part on expected temperature range over the course of a year."
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'd kill for 82 degrees right now.
posted by waitingtoderail at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2013 [51 favorites]


Yeah, this is totally incomprehensible to me because here in Texas we have triple-digit summers and everything works fine. Then again, when it snows (about once every three years), Austin damn near shuts down, so, y'know.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2013


I make fun because it's been 100+ here for 10 days but really, we're far more prepared for summer weather extremes than England is.

On the other hand when I lived in southern spain we had no A/C and it was not a big deal. I assume living in 300 year old farmhouses with 2-foot-thick stone walls contributes to the survivability, though.
posted by elizardbits at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't even turn on the AC until the thermostat inside my house reads 85.

THAT IS NOT HOW THERMOSTATS WORK
posted by DU at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


See AskMefi: You say heatwave, I say tomato, no, what? (July 15, 2013)
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


And DC somehow manages to come to a screeching halt every time it snows despite having a season in which it is guaranteed to snow every year.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's been in the high 90's here in NYC for a couple of weeks. Nothing has melted here yet.

Actually roads are buckling around New York too.
posted by seemoreglass at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So showbiz_liz's link answered my question, but I wonder why they would stress it only to the mean temperature and not the record temperature.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2013


savetheclocktower: "Yeah, this is totally incomprehensible to me because here in Texas we have triple-digit summers and everything works fine. Then again, when it snows (about once every three years), Austin damn near shuts down, so, y'know."

In the Dallas area and in Amarillo, the roads are often made of high-strength concrete, rather than tar asphalt/bitumen. They're stiffer than asphalt and expand in the heat, so they're also prone to buckling during heat waves, although perhaps it's not widely publicized. With asphalt, you might be able to seal a crack if it's not too bad. With concrete, you may have to replace the buckled section.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2013


From that BBC article, a potential explanation:
The main factor that can impact the point at which a road melts is the type or grade of bitumen binder used to make the asphalt, says Robinson. Harder paving grade bitumens have higher softening points, which makes the asphalt better able to withstand high summer temperatures.

Melting tends to mainly only affect the top layer - known as the surface course layer - which is normally between 3-5cm thick.

Heavily trafficked roads typically have three layers in total - a surface course layer, a binder course layer (about 7cm) and a base layer (10-15cm thick).

Country lanes, which carry less traffic, generally have only two asphalt layers.

"Bitumen is characterised in terms of hardness, so an asphalt made with a harder grade bitumen is less prone to softening and rutting.

"The problem with harder grade bitumen is in winter, it can become brittle and crack, which is why polymer modified binders are the preferred option," he says.
So you can optimize your asphalt for cold winters or hot summers. Britain's default choice is no longer working in the summer, I guess.
posted by maudlin at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't realize that the Telegraph's yearly "Oh ho it's hotter than [former colonial outpost]!" panic was actually an issue until I lived in Britain and listened to my friends cheering on a day in the upper 60's/low 70's as "very fine" and "perfect summer weather."

Then I saw what happened to British interns who came to DC's welcoming, swamp pit hug of summer heat and....yeah, there aren't enough Pimm's cups in the world to help someone adjust to a heat index of 102.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


THAT IS NOT HOW THERMOSTATS WORK

Thermometer! The thermometer that is attached to my thermostat that is only for the heater and thus turned off in the summer because I only have a wall AC! I'm sorry, I mistyped!
posted by elsietheeel at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is what is meant by "climate change."

Britain didn't often get this weather, so everything they built they built with the expectation that they won't get this weather.

Now the Gulf Stream is stalled offshore of the other England, where it is NOT FUCKING NEEDED, THANK YOU, which has implications, since the Brits didn't lay down any of their plumbing to be freeze-proof, but that worry can wait a few months.

In the meantime, if you don't lay down heat-rated tarmack, it melts in the heat.

If you don;t lay down concrete that's rated for this temperature, it expands, and segments of road buckle upwards to form what looks like a skating ramp. Extremely dangerous for highways.

And the train tracks buckle.

But it's socialism to do anythign to prevent this shit.
posted by ocschwar at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Yeah, I'm in Philly and 82 degress would be rad. There's been a heat advisory for the last week now. Before that it was rain for a week and a half. The current temperature is 97 with 49% humidity, so it feels like 105.

Craziness. The city smells terrible because of the sustained heat, and I've lost shifts in my service industry job because no one wants to sit outside.

Hot town, summer in the city....
posted by lazaruslong at 12:03 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's been in the high 90's here in NYC for a couple of weeks. Nothing has melted here yet.

NO

YOU ARE WRONG

I PERSONALLY HAVE MELTED

ALSO LOOK OUT THE WINDOW THE CITY IS ON FIRE AND EVERYONE IS DEAD

fuck the summer
posted by elizardbits at 12:03 PM on July 19, 2013 [102 favorites]


To be honest, an inch of snow (or less) can do for London as well. The problem is not the extremes, its the frequency with which they occur. If its hardly ever really cold or really hot then there's little justification for building systems resilient to either. Its a pain when there is an extreme but not enough of a pain to justify the effort to extend resilience. It will be interesting to see whether climate change impacts on this.
posted by biffa at 12:04 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


THAT IS NOT HOW THERMOSTATS WORK

Hey, DU! My fridge has a numeric dial, and higher numbers mean colder!
posted by Leon at 12:05 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


There was a huge European heatwave back in 2003 which, according to Wikipedia, killed somewhere in the region of 70,000 people, with 2,000 extra deaths in the UK attributed to the temperature. Granted, that year the UK recorded its highest temperature ever, at 38.5ºC, but yes, like everyone else is saying, the infrastructure is just not set up for it. Even in France, in 2003 – a country where house-building techniques take far more account of dealing with high temperatures than ever happens in the UK – it killed almost 15,000 people.
posted by Len at 12:05 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I tried sleeping in my Toronto basement this week. It was awful. /grumpymeltedcat
posted by maudlin at 12:05 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


At the other, erm, extreme, temperatures below about 35F / 2C start to cause infrastructure problems in the UK. A few inches of snow is enough to jam roads and cancel trains; Greater Anglia cancelled a bunch of trains this spring gone because of one inch of snow.

There was a documentary about the evolution of mankind a few years back, which detailed how man was now versatile, adaptable, could survive many extremes. Not, it appears, on this little rock...
posted by Wordshore at 12:06 PM on July 19, 2013


I'd kill for 82 degrees right now.

That's exactly what I was thinking. 84 F is supposed to be the high tomorrow here (upstate NY) and it feels like major relief from the 90s we've been enduring the last two weeks. (Yes, I am too cheap concerned for the environment to put in central air, why are you asking?) It's the nights that don't get below 70 F that are the real torture.

It's apparently good for butterflies.

We've been noticing an unusually larger number of butterflies here, too.
posted by aught at 12:06 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The heat and dryness is playing havoc up at the Open Championship this week. Muirfield is dry as a bone and playing crazy fast and hard.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


82F would be lovely right about now.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


When the temps crack 85 here in San Francisco, it gets pretty unbearable pretty quickly for all the reasons outlined above. When I lived in DC, it was of course miserable to be outside, but when pretty much everywhere has air conditioning, it makes it easier to deal with.

Fortunately - for now, anyway - heat waves in SF rarely last more than a couple of days before the Central Valley heats up enough to pull that sweet, cool marine layer over the city like a blanket. Aaaaah.....
posted by rtha at 12:07 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


elizardbits: " I PERSONALLY HAVE MELTED"

HEY WHAT YOU DO IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN CITY IS YOUR BUSINESS....
posted by zarq at 12:09 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


So showbiz_liz's link answered my question, but I wonder why they would stress it only to the mean temperature and not the record temperature.

Because when it gets cold, it shrinks. Gotta account for that, too.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:09 PM on July 19, 2013


which detailed how man was now versatile, adaptable, could survive many extremes

Oh, we'll survive this bullshit, we're just not going to do so quietly.
posted by aught at 12:10 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


When my family moved to England, it then, as now, was in the midst of an unprecedented heat wave. We had recently departed Virginia, and as such, found the heat wave not quite much to fuss about, even if our house didn't have air conditioning. I had to go to the embassy and there sat down with an individual who also found the temperature ruckus to be overblown, as he told me, "It often got over 40C back home in India, so this isn't bad at all!" I don't remember this story because I was speaking with someone who had been born in India in the American embassy, but because it was the first time I had ever in normal chit chat conversation encountered someone who casually threw around Celsius. I didn't have time then to do the math in my head for the conversion, so just assumed that "over 40C" was hot, and agreed with the man.

But yes, it puts the whole British Empire into perspective. Not only did Britain conquer a quarter of the world, but they did it in rather insufferable (by comparison) heat!
posted by Atreides at 12:10 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


May I introduce you, Britain, to a concept that gets the Southeastern US through these sorts of times every year: Iced Tea
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2013 [28 favorites]


Then I saw what happened to British interns who came to DC's welcoming, swamp pit hug of summer heat and....yeah, there aren't enough Pimm's cups in the world to help someone adjust to a heat index of 102.

I actually went out for drinks last night with some British people who were in DC to do something in my wife's office and they were all dying. They kept mentioning how I wasn't sweating (we were sitting outside), which seemed weird to me because I felt like I was sweating plenty, but then I noticed that they all looked like they'd just run a marathon. They were from Durham, which I just checked and apparently has an all time record high temperature of 90. It's been 90 by 10 AM for weeks.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:12 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah your 200 year old house is nice and historical and all but my 5 year old building has something far more important: central air. Checkmake.
posted by Justinian at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this thread got monopolized by Americans 'cos the Brits are all in the pub.

I hope y'all get fed Marmite.
posted by Leon at 12:14 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


A brief indication of how unprepared the UK is for this kind of sustained weather is that unlike England, Scotland hasn't issued a heatwave warning. Not because it'll be any cooler than England, but because there is no official system in place to do so.
posted by pinacotheca at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


If I had a time machine I could make a fortune whisking people back and forth between July & January.

Although, it's too bad, since momentum and position wouldn't be comparable across that kind of "time" span, people would basically be dumped into open intergalactic space.

... payment up front then.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


May I introduce you, Britain, to a concept that gets the Southeastern US through these sorts of times every year: Iced Tea

You know, I think I've put my finger on part of why this heatwave is affecting people so much: vast swathes of Britain will not stop fucking making cups of (hot) tea regardless of what the weather is doing. I am sitting here typing this with a steaming mug of tea in front of me right now AND I DON'T KNOW WHY. You may wonder what the big deal is when we're dying at 30C on the outside, but it is that temperature plus scalding tea inside us ALL THE TIME
posted by emmtee at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [68 favorites]


I think this thread got monopolized by Americans 'cos the Brits are all in the pub.

I hope y'all get fed Marmite.


We're all sitting in our air conditioned offices, dicking around online and dreading the prospect of going home in a few hours, that's all!

Scotland's biggest health board has encouraged people to "be sensible".

Why is this so charming to me
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: They were from Durham

Ok, so they may have failed the DC heat test. Go out in Durham or Newcastle in the middle of winter – with all of the women in strappy tops and miniskirts, and the blokes in jeans and t-shirts – and see how it works at the other end of the thermometer. (i.e. being from Durham and/or the North East in general explains a lot.)
posted by Len at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2013


May I introduce you, Britain, to a concept that gets the Southeastern US through these sorts of times every year: Iced Tea

Barring that, there is the gin and tonic, introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India.
posted by seemoreglass at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's been in the high 90's here in NYC for a couple of weeks. Nothing has melted here yet.

Years ago, my freshman year in college, I read and laughed at a throwaway quip from a character in Carrie Fisher's first book - "New York in the summer is like a cough. It feels like the whole country came here and coughed."

Every single summer ever since, I've remembered that line and reflected on just how true it was.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, hot tea makes you sweat, which cools you off. I keep telling myself that.

Also: my Yorkshire Gold, red and blistered dead hands, don't you even try it.
posted by maudlin at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


showbiz_liz: "I think this thread got monopolized by Americans 'cos the Brits are all in the pub."

I was escaping the heat in my local pub in America just a minute ago, but sipping on a British beer, Coniston Bluebird Bitter of all things, and thinking of my UK brethren.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heat makes metal expand.
posted by Renoroc at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2013


Heat makes Metafilter posts expand.
posted by orme at 12:20 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ok, so they may have failed the DC heat test. Go out in Durham or Newcastle in the middle of winter – with all of the women in strappy tops and miniskirts, and the blokes in jeans and t-shirts – and see how it works at the other end of the thermometer.

See, that sort of endurance test doesn't work for Americans either. We're a land of extreme weather, that's why half of us don't even believe in climate change!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:20 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I think this thread got monopolized by Americans 'cos the Brits are all in the pub."

....Would it comfort the Brits to know that this American is reading a British author's book to cope?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:21 PM on July 19, 2013


I think this thread got monopolized by Americans 'cos the Brits are all in the pub.

Or because it's 45 minutes to happy hour on the US east coast on a Friday afternoon and absolutely no work is getting done!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:23 PM on July 19, 2013


ALSO LOOK OUT THE WINDOW THE CITY IS ON FIRE AND EVERYONE IS DEAD

Dear elizardbits,

This is how summer makes me feel inside.

Sincerely,
I am melting, too.
posted by phunniemee at 12:24 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


DUDE THE POEM SAYS

ICE IS NICER THAN ENDING IN FIRE

WE ARE TOTALLY STUCK AT FIRE

WTF
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah your 200 year old house is nice and historical and all but my 5 year old building has something far more important: central air. Checkmake.

THAT IS NOT HOW CHECKMATE WORKS
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't like the summer but I don't like the winter either.

I like about 1-2 weeks a year when the outside is perfectly 72 degrees to match the inside. Where the fuck is our dome Bloomberg?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


There was a huge European heatwave back in 2003 which, according to Wikipedia, killed somewhere in the region of 70,000 people, with 2,000 extra deaths in the UK attributed to the temperature.

That was fucking appalling and the first time in 7 years that I actually considered installing central air.
posted by elizardbits at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2013


I had a hilarious (sweaty) journey home on the Tube last night. People - strangers! - were coming up and talking to me all the time, and that is underheard of down there.

The reason? I was carrying a fan.

Those things are incredibly rare around London now. All the stores have completely sold out, from the megachains to the corner shops. The effect seeing one had on commuters was like I was carrying two puppies and a cute baby. A super-cute baby.
posted by bonaldi at 12:29 PM on July 19, 2013 [24 favorites]


I am always surprised just how far north London is, from a North American perspective. It is farther north than all of the continental U.S., about even with Calgary, Alberta. It actually makes sense that they don't have the infrastructure to deal with warm weather!
posted by stopgap at 12:29 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


at least in the winter I can skulk around in my long black coat and leather boots and gloves like the cold war era spy I aspire to be
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


bonaldi: The effect seeing one had on commuters was like I was carrying two puppies and a cute baby. A super-cute baby.

A super cute baby that blew cool and soothing air all over them, rather than burping up some breakfast on their shoulder.
posted by Len at 12:30 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


everyone quit shouting it is just making it hotter.

Oh, and those fans you folded out of loose-leaf paper? Also making it hotter.

I'm going to turn the lights off, just put your heads down.

Later we will have boiling hot Hi-C I saved from the last birthday party. It is currently heating up on the windowsill in direct sunlight.

Drinking hot liquids on a hot day makes you feel cooler, little known fact.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:30 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fucking worst part is how much cooler it is (like 20 degrees less, ffs) in parts of the southern US. I am too lazy to check a weather site but I wonder if southern europe is also obnoxiously cooler than northern right now.
posted by elizardbits at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: "Where the fuck is our dome Bloomberg?"

You know he'd only dome midtown, right?
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this is totally incomprehensible to me because here in Texas we have triple-digit summers and everything works fine. Then again, when it snows (about once every three years), Austin damn near shuts down, so, y'know.

It's okay, we can't cope with snow either.
posted by dng at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2013


Hendrick's and club soda is the absolutely best thing ever in this gosh darn belly of a dragon weather.

I've actually been driving to and from because otherwise I am so exhausted from the 15-20 min walk when I get home, I pass right out for like an hour, which is completely not how I roll.


I'm in Harrisburg and it hasn't below like 70 even at night since sometime last week.
posted by sio42 at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2013


Drinking hot liquids on a hot day makes you feel cooler, little known fact.

This is a huge goddamn fucking lie made up by parents who don't want their kids to have ice cream in the middle of the day. NO HOT THING HAS EVER MADE A HOT DAY LESS TERRIBLE. NOT EVER.
posted by elizardbits at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2013 [26 favorites]


You know he'd only dome midtown, right?

Damn it, you are right. I don't even get citibike, what makes me think I deserve a dome.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


As of Wednesday, when I flew back to Chicago, everybody I spoke to in and around Oxford was saying how nice the weather was. I had expected to hear at least one person complain (the English do like to grumble), but nobody did, even those dressed in three piece dark suits at a wedding.
It was hot, but it wasn't too humid, and it cooled of nicely at night -- if they had sticky, Chicago style weather, where it doesn't cool off too much overnight they might have wilted a little more.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2013


This is a huge goddamn fucking lie made up by parents who don't want their kids to have ice cream in the middle of the day. NO HOT THING HAS EVER MADE A HOT DAY LESS TERRIBLE. NOT EVER.

Except for curry. Lots and lots of curry
posted by dng at 12:33 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think we're on day eleven of mid to high 90s here (Iowa), and I don't think it's that hot yet. I still go out in it for extended periods of time. Lower 80s is not what I would consider hot at all.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:33 PM on July 19, 2013


I grew up in the DC area, so I was used to the muggy, sweaty, sticky 104° temperatures that we lived through there, with the swampy goodness of mosquitoes and gnats and spiderwebs everywhere. Then I moved to Richmond, VA, and learned about the freak occurrence of summer downpours and the immediate after effect of air so thick with moisture that your clothes would instantly end up soaking wet, even while inside. I never had A/C in my apartments in Richmond, and spent many summers sleeping in a bath full of cool water, just to be comfortable (it actually works really well). Then I eventually moved to Las Vegas, and couldn't believe that 115° could actually not feel totally horrible, just warm, like standing in front of an open oven. 130° was a little too much, and you dehydrated quite fast in that heat, but it was night and day different from the high 90's back east. Now I'm in Portland, and, much like the U.K., most houses here do not have A/C. They do, however, generally have good air flow, which helps alleviate much of the problem. Of course, 90° here feels nice, like a warm blanket. You might sweat some, but a quick luke warm shower feels great and refreshing.

The funniest part was back during the week leading up to July 4th. The forecast was calling for near 100° on the holiday, and every Home Depot and Lowe's and Walmart sold out of every window A/C unit they had in stock. Then the 4th came and the high was 79°. Some days, I swear the weather forecast is written by some A/C manufacturer wanting to unload back stock.
posted by daq at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


They were from Durham, which I just checked and apparently has an all time record high temperature of 90. It's been 90 by 10 AM for weeks.

Hahaha, I did a uni tour at Glasgow one June after coming from the Swiss Alps. The lady at the international student info desk was very nice, but she kept fanning herself, and she was wearing a linen suit. She noticed us looking around kind of quizzically, and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, there isn't central air and as you can see we're in a bit of a heat wave!"

I WAS WEARING A WOOL COAT IN JUNE AND IT WAS A HEAT WAVE.

I did not apply to the university.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:35 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I moved from London to Glasgow a few years ago and have been whinging ever since. Sure, the odd summer when London reached 30+ degrees for extended periods made sleeping uncomfortable, but there always was a summer, i.e. even in the rainy years, from at least April to October you didn't need the heating on and could mostly go without a coat.

In Glasgow, meanwhile, I've suffered in the near-constant wind and rain. I never imagined the difference could be so great. Last summer, no exaggeration, there were around 7 separate days in total when it was a decent temperature and sunny all day. Either it was bucketing down or the brief moments of sun failed to heat the goddam place above 16 degrees.

But we've got a heatwave now. It's been above 20 degrees for at least a fortnight now - usually much more and due to get close to 30 in the coming days - and though I'm red raced and weak, and we bake in the office and I type with sticky hands, I'm loving this. All the neds have their tops off and their dogs are going mental, and the trains to Largs are packed with blistered flesh, and the Tennent's cans and Buckfast bottles spill out the bins in the parks, and I just can't get enough of this stuff.
posted by cincinnatus c at 12:35 PM on July 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


It isn't the heat. Or the humidity. It is the fact that the entire city reeks. How the hell can a river smell like that. What the fuck did we do to it?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:35 PM on July 19, 2013


This whole thing calls for some Paul Stanley stage banter.
posted by not_on_display at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2013


This is some scary stuff... I wish all those out in the UK the best and hope you all pull out of this OK.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


fuck the summer

Do you REALLY think that will calm it down?
posted by hell toupee at 12:37 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: "How the hell can a river smell like that. What the fuck did we do to it?"

That's not the river. That's Jersey.
posted by zarq at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Do you REALLY think that will calm it down?
posted by hell toupee


Maybe it'll do the roll-over-and-go-to-sleep thing?

Also: eponysterical?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is what heat can do to a road that isn't rated for it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-zVEq3d8ws

(Wisconsin, not England, this time around)
posted by ocschwar at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh god.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, I wish I could share my 68-75 F with you guys ( ˘ ³˘)♥
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2013


Do you REALLY think that will calm it down?

Well, it's already lying back and thinking of England...maybe it would distract it?
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fucking worst part is how much cooler it is (like 20 degrees less, ffs) in parts of the southern US.

This is like how during the winter I check the weather for Anchorage, AK and consider weeping, when I then suddenly remember, well, at least it's not summer.
posted by phunniemee at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2013


zarq: "You know he'd only dome midtown, right?"

Frisk and Dome.
posted by boo_radley at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


cincinnatus c: All the neds have their tops off and their dogs are going mental, and the trains to Largs are packed with blistered flesh, and the Tennent's cans and Buckfast bottles spill out the bins in the parks, and I just can't get enough of this stuff.

Ah, the Buckfast Beach in Kelvingrove Park! Taps: aff! Barbecue: on! Crate of Tennents: Gone!
posted by Len at 12:41 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was coming into this thread specifically to wonder how hot it would have to be for the Brits to embrace iced tea. Maybe 35?

You could try obliterating all sensations, heat included, by using the Long Isalnd version. Maybe an ersatz ripoff is less of a betrayal?
posted by Diablevert at 12:43 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love found poetry.
Though I'm red raced and weak,
   and we bake in the office
   and I type with sticky hands,
I'm loving this.
All the neds have their tops off
   and their dogs are going mental,
   and the trains to Largs are packed with blistered flesh,
   and the Tennent's cans and Buckfast bottles spill out the bins in the parks,
   and I just can't get enough of this stuff.
posted by seemoreglass at 12:44 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


I was watching a british youtuber and he was drinking iced tea. I could tell from the pain in his voice he wasn't happy about it.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is the fact that the entire city reeks.

It's like an armpit lost a fight with an anus.
posted by elizardbits at 12:47 PM on July 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm an American in London right now. This is the second time I've managed to be in the UK during a heat wave and without a/c (attending conferences, so the times were not of my own choosing). Strictly speaking, this isn't as bad as things are back in upstate NY--I only have window a/c in my bedroom, so things do get toasty inside, and my office building's a/c is, ahem, temperamental. But I had a moment of sadness when I popped into a McD's for a diet coke, and found myself contemplating maybe three ice cubes in the cup. Now is the time for American-style sodas, I say.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:47 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


...for the Brits to embrace iced tea.

An abomination; there is no such thing as "iced tea". We may have given up an empire out of sheer boredom, but we do retain standards with respect to what our upstart cousins in the former western colonies refer to as 'beverages'.

There is tea. And there are lesser fluids.
posted by Wordshore at 12:47 PM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


Try it without the clotted cream next time.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


An abomination; there is no such thing as "iced tea".

Well then at least let me leave you with this suggestion from our yankee bretheren.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, so they may have failed the DC heat test. Go out in Durham or Newcastle in the middle of winter – with all of the women in strappy tops and miniskirts, and the blokes in jeans and t-shirts – and see how it works at the other end of the thermometer.

Washington DC has colder winters, on average, than Durham or Newcastle. Or Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, or Stornoway, for that matter.

This is one of those things that Europeans who haven't spent at least a year in the US or Canada tend to Just. Not. Get.

Cities on the DC to Boston strip are bad enough, combining summers like Madrid or Rome with winters like Scotland or Berlin. But when you get to the interior, all bets are fucking well off. Places like Chicago or St. Louis are almost as hot as Rome in summer, and about as cold as Oslo in winter. Minneapolis, which you might think of as a cold city because of its pretty brutal winters, is not much cooler than Rome in summer.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


into the harbor with wordshore
posted by elizardbits at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


The fucking worst part is how much cooler it is (like 20 degrees less, ffs) in parts of the southern US.

You're not smirking now, with your fancy shamancy thriving and varied arts, culture, cuisine, film, sports and entertainment scenes, are ya?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]



It's like an armpit lost a fight with an anus.

It's like there's a force field of utter physical stank around all objects.
posted by The Whelk at 12:51 PM on July 19, 2013


Places like Chicago or St. Louis are almost as hot as Rome in summer, and about as cold as Oslo in winter.

Chicago weather is like some sort of joke played by the universe. Over the course of a year, a swing of a hundred degrees is not even remotely out of the question. A swing of 80-90 is basically guaranteed. The reason that city doesn't just crack in half and slide into the lake is because it would ruin the universe's awful joke.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:53 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


It's like there's a force field of utter physical stank around all objects.

I've been playing a game and the game is called "how bad does the guy on the subway bench next to me need to smell before I get up and stand in the corner?" I have had many opportunities to play this game recently
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:54 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except for curry. Lots and lots of curry

There is the notion that spicy foods actually aid in the personal cooling process, by making you sweat, which then cools you off evaporatively.

Either way, you're having curry, so that's a win-win.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:54 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


/stirs vindaloo into Yorkshire Gold, weeping
posted by maudlin at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


/stirs vindaloo into Yorkshire Gold, weeping
posted by maudlin


Eponysterical! ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was only in (a suburb of) Chicago for 4 years and I experienced a swing of about 120 degrees.
posted by Justinian at 12:56 PM on July 19, 2013


The fucking worst part is how much cooler it is (like 20 degrees less, ffs) in parts of the southern US.

Friends of mine are right now in the Bay of Fundy on a six-week road trip through the Canadian Maritimes. I've just pre-emptively told them to shut up about the weather where they are for the next few weeks because it'd send me on a tri-state killing spree I swear.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on July 19, 2013


that spicy foods actually aid in the personal cooling process, by making you sweat,

My dad, who loves spicy foods, always used to mention this, but I've always found myself perplexed by it. I don't need spicy food to make me sweat. As soon as the temperature hits like 70, every pore turns into a broken fire hydrant, little kids all running through it and shrieking, slip and slide set up near my skin, ice cream truck playing the Mister Softee jingle up and down my spine. I do not need help from you capsaicin
posted by Greg Nog at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


I took a tragically in a/c'd metro train to a meeting in downtown DC today. Nothing like meeting up with your k street lawyer covered in ick. I'm supposed to leave that meeting feeling like I'm covered I ick, not start it that way!
posted by atomicstone at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Infrastructure makes a huge difference. Buildings designed to maximize heat retention get terribly hot in a heat wave.

For example, here in Toronto, my apartment has one woefully inadequate air conditioner jammed in the kitchen window. The temperature in my kitchen hasn't dropped below 82 with the AC going full blast in over a week. Even at dawn, it's usually around 85 in the kitchen. 90ish elsewhere in the apartment. It doesn't help that the overnight low has been around 80 all week.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Years ago, my freshman year in college, I read and laughed at a throwaway quip from a character in Carrie Fisher's first book - "New York in the summer is like a cough. It feels like the whole country came here and coughed."

Every single summer ever since, I've remembered that line and reflected on just how true it was.


Here in Indiana, I've been describing the high-heat, high-humidity air as being "like somebody else took my breaths before I did."
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I grew up in New Orleans and live in Austin and this thread is chock full of stuff that I seriously did not think about until I was an adult.

I mean, sure, I understood on some level that the South was hotter than average, but that's where the understanding stopped. When my dad got a new car, I'd look at the placards in the dealership and wonder why they even offered cars without air conditioning — who on earth would buy such a thing? And, though I grew up in an old house, we installed central air when I was 7, and before that we had window units in every room — every room — that were on most of the damn time.

Vast amounts of the Southwest U.S. are practically uninhabitable, and would still be if not for A/C. I forget that my existence is the outlier.
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh hey we've beat the high of 95 here today by 2 degrees. it's 97 outside right now.

it's been almost 100 every day this week.

i never i'd thought i'd look at the weather and think "thank god tomorow is only going to be 91."
posted by sio42 at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2013


Greg have you tried being less hirsute?
posted by Aizkolari at 12:58 PM on July 19, 2013


boo_radley: " Frisk and Dome."

At this point I'd let someone from the NYPD grope me to get some relief from the heat. Heat index is 107º today.
posted by zarq at 1:00 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Greg have you tried being less hirsute?

WOULD YOU ASK THE BIRDS TO STOP CHIRPING
posted by Greg Nog at 1:00 PM on July 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


As soon as the temperature hits like 70, every pore turns into a broken fire hydrant, little kids all running through it and shrieking, slip and slide set up near my skin, ice cream truck playing the Mister Softee jingle up and down my spine.

OH MAN some sniffy FOAF lady tried to sweat-shame me under the guise of concern trolling my soggy-ass self the other day and I was like "bitch please, don't hate because I am more capable and skilled at thermoregulation than you are".
posted by elizardbits at 1:00 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Every hour the air pressure is dropping significantly, we are now at 100.7 kPa and I am excited for every additional fraction. We got a severe thunderstorm watch and the wind is gusting and I am now cheering FRONT! FRONT! FRONT! FRONT!
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


yay for you! we're supposed to get storms here tomorrow. i cannot wait!
posted by sio42 at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2013


I have tried every means I know to lower the temperature in this apartment, I am going to have to resort to dark and arcane magics.

Look what you made me do.
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


just checked my weather - may get a storm around 6 here! maybe yay for me too!!!
posted by sio42 at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2013


Don't bogart that storm, seanmpuckett. We are begging you.
posted by maudlin at 1:05 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I biked to work this morning (7.6 miles) and am concerned that I will burst into flames on my way home.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:07 PM on July 19, 2013


ROU_Xenophobe: Washington DC has colder winters, on average, than Durham or Newcastle. Or Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, or Stornoway, for that matter.

Oh, I know that. My point was more about dealing with temperatures you're used to. The North east of England has a not undeserved reputation for its youth to go out, in sub-zero temperatures, wearing very little; certainly not faffing about with such luxuries as a jacket or a coat. I've been out in Newcastle, freezing my arse of in the middle of winter wearing a heavy wool coat. And been surrounded by people wearing clothing that might be considered a bit chilly for the heatwave we're currently in the middle of.
posted by Len at 1:07 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm glad I had a the foresight to go on vacation by the beach this week, and stay at a place with a swimming pool. Except that recently pushing a baby out of your vagina apparently makes you unsuitable for submersion. Fuck.
posted by snickerdoodle at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went to the laundry room. I am soaked with sweat. Some old lady in the elevator thought I was dying.

I guess I can break my own rules and wear shorts, It isn't like I'm going anyplace but the basement, who is going to see me. I'm not going to end up on vice.com cuz I wore shorts to do laundry am I?
posted by Ad hominem at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2013


I am going to have to resort to dark and arcane magics.

Apparently that includes "iced tea" to hear the Angles talking.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2013


FRONT! FRONT! FRONT! FRONT!

Ohhhh yeah, bring it. It's supposed to hit here in WNY tomorrow, and the forecast for Sunday is high 76, low 58, marginally cooler than average!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:09 PM on July 19, 2013


Every time my phone gets a weather alert, I hope it's a severe thunderstorm warning or maybe a flash floods or something that involves cool water falling from the sky in some way, but it's always heat advisory or air quality alert or really any of the meteorological codes for "don't go outside or you will die."

It makes me sad.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am going to have to resort to dark and arcane magics.

Apparently that includes "iced tea" to hear the Angles talking.


NO ONE IS TO SAY ICED TEA UNTIL I BLOW THIS WHISTLE
posted by Wordshore at 1:11 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I miss a lot of things about living in New York but my god the smell isn't one of them.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:12 PM on July 19, 2013


I heard in America they have this drink where they put some ice in their tea.
posted by dng at 1:12 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dubai = 100, with 29% humidity, at midnight. There is no sympathy.
posted by ambient2 at 1:13 PM on July 19, 2013


when you live in the middle of the freaking desert you make some compromises and expect a few things. You don't expect the same things when you're living across from the North Sea.
posted by The Whelk at 1:18 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The fucking worst part is how much cooler it is (like 20 degrees less, ffs) in parts of the southern US.
posted by elizardbits


Hope this makes you feel better, elizardbits. East Tennessee, checking in.
posted by workerant at 1:19 PM on July 19, 2013


Eastern folk: Relief should be on the way. We had 2 mini-thunderstorms in Michigan so far today, and the humidity dropped to a mere 40% afterward, so the 91 degrees is more tolerable. Even just the (hot) wind is making the dogs less miserable.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:19 PM on July 19, 2013


I live in Edinburgh. But I've been to North America at various times of year. Hell, I've seen Toronto in mid-winter and mid-summer, a 70 celsius temperature swing.

The difference is largely down to the age of our infrastructure.

The average British dwelling is 75 years old; think about that. Half our houses are older than our own average life expectancy. They predate double-glazing, HVAC, central heating -- my apartment predates indoor plumbing (it was retrofitted in the 1840s, a couple of decades after the tenement was built). In part, the older buildings remain habitable because the climate is generally clement, or has been for the past century; another factor is that land and housing here is ferociously expensive. If the continental United States was populated to the same density as the UK, there'd be over three billion Americans.

This doesn't mean that we totally lack the modern amenities, but only new-build places have everything -- and only 0.5% of our homes have aircon, much less HVAC with its bulky ductwork.
posted by cstross at 1:20 PM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think we're all missing the bigger picture, here:

> I was escaping the heat in my local pub in America just a minute ago, but sipping on a British beer, Coniston Bluebird Bitter of all things, and thinking of my UK brethren.

Where the bloody hell are you, to be able to find Bluebird in the US? I lived near Preston for 10 years and I couldn't find it outside the Lake District, let alone this side of the Atlantic!
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:21 PM on July 19, 2013


There was a documentary about the evolution of mankind a few years back, which detailed how man was now versatile, adaptable, could survive many extremes. Not, it appears, on this little rock...

Oh, we're plenty versatile and adaptable, but when it comes to public infrastructure, there are always ways to save money on projects, and the lowest bidder always wins. So when your country doesn't usually get that hot or cold, go with something that will work 99% of the time. But when the extremes happen more often, your 99% becomes 80%, and you get gooey roads.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:22 PM on July 19, 2013


this is what you get when you build things out of delicious taffy
posted by The Whelk at 1:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, 82F sounds pretty wonderful right now. It's been in the 90s all week here and about 120% humidity. You can almost hear the sound of your face hitting the outdoor air as you walk out the doors of my office building. Sort of this soft "phumff" sound.

I had the good sense to park my car under the bridge this morning so that it won't be 200 degrees when I get into it in about 1/2 hour.
posted by octothorpe at 1:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


this is what you get when you build things out of delicious taffy

Candyland is always a perfect 72 degrees Fahrenheit. ALWAYS.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:24 PM on July 19, 2013


Every hour the air pressure is dropping significantly, we are now at 100.7 kPa and I am excited for every additional fraction. We got a severe thunderstorm watch and the wind is gusting and I am now cheering FRONT! FRONT! FRONT! FRONT!

Woo, 100.6 at Pearson! Highs in the 20s and lows in the 10s next week!

I just hope I don't end up with a 5 hour walk home from work and a "rolling blackout" that is stuck for 24 hours on my side of the block, but not across the street, like the last time.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:25 PM on July 19, 2013


MAY YOUR CHOCOLATE CASTLE BE YOUR TOMB
posted by The Whelk at 1:25 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hahaha, I did a uni tour at Glasgow one June after coming from the Swiss Alps. The lady at the international student info desk was very nice, but she kept fanning herself, and she was wearing a linen suit. She noticed us looking around kind of quizzically, and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, there isn't central air and as you can see we're in a bit of a heat wave!"

I WAS WEARING A WOOL COAT IN JUNE AND IT WAS A HEAT WAVE.


This reminds me of a lovely visit to Ireland a few years back. I was wandering around a nice little town, taking pictures of anything that caught my eye. As I was clearly a tourist, an older chap asked me how I liked my visit. I said I was having a great time. He was happy for me, but apologized for the heatwave. I smiled, and said I was doing fine.

It was in the low 70s, and it hadn't rained in a week.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:26 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


NO ONE IS TO SAY ICED TEA UNTIL I BLOW THIS WHISTLE

It could be worse; people could be dropping the "d."
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:26 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The average British dwelling is 75 years old; think about that. Half our houses are older than our own average life expectancy

My house in the US is 145 years old, it's certainly habitable in 90+ degree heat. We don't have central air yet but most of our neighbors with similarly old houses do.
posted by octothorpe at 1:27 PM on July 19, 2013


Whelk, you have to make up your mind. Is the city taffy or chocolate? Or is it a delicious mix of the two?

I ask because I want to know what utensils to bring when I come to devour your town.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:27 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


An abomination; there is no such thing as "iced tea".

Dear Wordshore, I warn you good sir, do not visit the southern United States. The sweet tea alone would send you packing. It is basically cold humming bird food, in which someone once swirled tea leaves, as to give the drinker a sense of what tea might be.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:31 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


My house in the US is 145 years old, it's certainly habitable in 90+ degree heat. We don't have central air yet but most of our neighbors with similarly old houses do.

I imagine you live somewhere where it's regularly hot enough to make A/C highly desirable. Which, if you haven't noticed, isn't most of Britain. Or any of it, really, until recently. Putting in central air isn't cheap, as you also presumably know. People are going to hold out on that expense as long as possible.
posted by hoyland at 1:31 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dear everyone, I invite you to visit the high deserts of New Mexico. It's raining with lighting and thunder, and according to one internet weather site, the temperature is 63°F. Mind you, we had highs in the 100s a few weeks back, but that was pleasant dry heat, with a bit of a breeze, to whisk the sweat away.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:33 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is all pretty funny from over here in western Oregon, where the average low temp is 40F and the average high temp is 69F. Ha ha ha.

I spent my childhood in South Carolina and my adolescence in NYC and I remember how much both summer and winter sucked. I take extra pleasure from putting on a sweater in mid-July and not wearing a coat in January when I think about my youth.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:34 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dear Wordshore, I warn you good sir, do not visit the southern United States. The sweet tea alone would send you packing. It is basically cold humming bird food, in which someone once swirled tea leaves, as to give the drinker a sense of what tea might be.

Sweet tea is like soda; it's a cold sweet beverage for a hot day or to have with a meal. It is unlike soda in that it is beautiful and life affirming and y'all Yankees are just haters.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:34 PM on July 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


So back when I worked in Manhattan and we'd get a heat wave, I'd get the bag I got from the company as my 'you worked here five years, pick your gift' which could be used as a clothing bag. I'd put work clothes into it, and dress in shorts and a t-shirt, and go to work. Walk in the front door of the building, get glared at a lot. Go through security, more glaring. Get to my floor, oh the glaring. Go into the men's room, into the ADA-mandated large stall, strip, dry off with the towel, dress in work clothes, go to my desk and lay my travel stuff in one of the big file drawers that was empty to dry out, and go about my day.

Someone came up to me and asked me about my plan, and seemed boggled at the idea that I would, in fact, do that. It seemed perfectly acceptable to me. If I'd decided to pay for the in-building gym, I would have not even showered in the morning, just rolled out of bed, put on the gym-like clothes, grabbed the bag and gone to work a little early, then hit the gym shower and come into work even fresher, which probably would have annoyed a lot of people.
posted by mephron at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The sweet tea alone would send you packing.

I grew up in the southeast, and the only worthwhile thing I experienced in my 18 years there was sweet tea. My mom makes sun tea, which is just friggen fantastic, but as I live in an apartment in the city, porches that get 6 hours of direct sunlight are hard to come by. For nine years now I've tried to recreate the sweet tea experience, but it always ends up tasting wrong.

FRIENDS, I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT I HAVE DISCOVERED A WAY. If you are interested in brewing yourself a batch of sweet iced tea to get you through this awful weather, please read on.

(Before I begin, I would like to say that this is not how southerners make sweet tea. I am saying that this is a way I have found to make iced tea that most closely resembles the sweet tea taste I know and love.)

MATERIALS:
-1L glass pitcher
-sugar
-1 green tea teabag
-2 black tea teabags (I have been using Trader Joe's cheapest versions of each of these, but any non-fancy tea brand will do. You want standard stuff here: Lipton, Luzianne, etc.)
-long spoon
-tap water

DIRECTIONS:
1) Run your tap water until it gets hot.
2) Put 1/4 cup of sugar into the pitcher. (Increase this to 1/2 cup for the true sweet tea experience, but I find that my heart beats more regularly with only 1/4 and it's plenty sweet.)
3) Fill the pitcher about halfway with hot water. DO NOT BOIL THE WATER. DO NOT.
4) Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
5) Add your three tea bags.
6) Fill the pitcher with hot water.
7) Give it a gentle stir.
8) Put it in your fridge (do NOT remove the tea bags) and leave it there until it's COLD.


This creates perfect, beautiful sweet tea without any of the harsh bitter tannins that other methods can leave. Mmm. I have a full pitcher in my fridge right now, and you can bet I'm going to down it as soon as I get home tonight.
posted by phunniemee at 1:43 PM on July 19, 2013 [23 favorites]


My mom makes sun tea, which is just friggen fantastic, but as I live in an apartment in the city, porches that get 6 hours of direct sunlight are hard to come by.

I make it on my fire escape! Six bags of apricot tea, one gallon of water, six hours in the hot sun, then into the fridge for a cool-down.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:46 PM on July 19, 2013


(I don't make it sweet, of course, because I am a Yankee and the sweetest thing I am allowed by my gods to drink is dried birch bark)
posted by Greg Nog at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


Drinking hot liquids on a hot day makes you feel cooler, little known fact.

I'll give this recitation of the old chestnut the benefit of the doubt -- maybe this works for some people, but not for me. Drinking my daily hot tea on summer mornings makes me sweat like mad. Drinking cold cold ice water on the other hand makes life worth living.
posted by aught at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2013


elizardbits: "The fucking worst part is how much cooler it is (like 20 degrees less, ffs) in parts of the southern US. I am too lazy to check a weather site but I wonder if southern europe is also obnoxiously cooler than northern right now."

Sorry I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome it is here
posted by danny the boy at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Mmm, delicious lead tea!
posted by elsietheeel at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here in Canada the asphalt doesn't melt so much as the tires do

There was an incident a long while back when the QEW into Toronto buckled due to heat. Two or three cars were launched off the ensuing ramps and cleared about a hundred feet. Unlike the Dukes of Hazard the occupants of the said vehicles sustained back injuries.
posted by srboisvert at 1:48 PM on July 19, 2013


mephron, and on your last day you went in wearing cream linen pants, a cream guyabera, a big straw panama hat, white patent leather shoes and a red, pink and orange lei, while carrying a grog-bowl full of sangria and floating sliced citrus rings, with 27 little paper umbrellas and a smile that was wider than your entire face?

ps you have to do the laugh, a deep, rich belly laugh, like there is nothing finer in the world than being a little bit hot and a little bit drunk and you know that later, no matter what happens, you will go play bongos at the club with the salsa band and smile broadly at pretty women
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:48 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh wait miami flashback shit
i'm hallucinating in the heat

COME ON STORM
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:49 PM on July 19, 2013


Here's how British I am: I collided with a woman with a raised umbrella a couple of days ago near Trafalgar Square on my way to work. How typical I thought, it's beautiful outside, and yet you've anticipated imminent rain! It only occurred to me moments later that she was shielding herself from the sun.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:51 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Less than 2 hours to go. We'll be dog-paddling again, but it'll be worth it.
posted by maudlin at 1:52 PM on July 19, 2013


I make it on my fire escape!

And you don't have three thousand polite notes shoved under your door by the eight million little old ladies who have nothing to do all day but stare at fire escapes to make sure they remain CLEAR and UNBLOCKED?

Whatya world.
posted by The Whelk at 1:54 PM on July 19, 2013


danny the boy, you are an evil man. And you stole the words right out of my mouth.

If I go to the meetup tonight I will of course wear a hoodie because it can be cold and windy at Zeitgeist.

Sorry, Mid-Atlantic/New England mefites.
posted by rtha at 1:54 PM on July 19, 2013


WOULD YOU ASK THE BIRDS TO STOP CHIRPING

In this heat I obviously have all my windows open. This morning I was greeted by the dawn fracking chorus and a bird with a call that sounded exactly like my alarm clock. No matter how hard I pushed my clock sleep button I couldn't turn off the chirping. I wore myself out and overslept.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:55 PM on July 19, 2013


Well then at least let me leave you with this suggestion from our yankee bretheren.

Seems as if mentioning or linking to LI Iced Tea recipes or suggestions should come with some sort of Surgeon General health safety warning for those who don't know how they work.
posted by aught at 1:57 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll give this recitation of the old chestnut the benefit of the doubt -- maybe this works for some people, but not for me.

Don't think it works for anyone.

It is what they told us as kids to shut us the fuck up when it was 107 degrees and we had nothing but warm Hi-c to drink.

You see, for some reason all the water fountains were always turned off, probably made the floors slippery.

One kid who's father was a janitor got a key to turn them on, but they suspended his ass quick.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:57 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


heat waves in SF rarely last more than a couple of days before the Central Valley heats up enough to pull that sweet, cool marine layer over the city like a blanket.

Ahhh indeed. What's cool is that you can even watch it coming. Yessir, nothing beats having the largest and deepest body of water on the planet as your next-door neighbor.
posted by chemoboy at 1:59 PM on July 19, 2013


Sorry I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome it is here

Have fun paying your rent this month!
posted by Aizkolari at 1:59 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


seanmpuckett: actually I was laid off in April, when it was still cool enough to not need to do that, so alas, I didn't. But man, if I had quit that job, and had that idea, I TOTALLY would have. I would have bought it all just for that.

Maybe not the sangria - I'm a teetotaler - but I could have done it with grape juice and generally had a good time of it.
posted by mephron at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2013


Have fun paying your rent this month!

Touche.
posted by chemoboy at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Aizkolari: "Have fun paying your rent this month!"

I would have also accepted, "Have fun always carrying a light sweater!"
posted by danny the boy at 2:03 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Reddit's British Problems gives a real feel for how unaccustomed these issues are to those living in the UK.

I really dislike the British Problems meme, as it usually is borne from either thinking all British people are on the spectrum when it comes to social interaction, or that we are all pip-pip what ho crumpets for tea jolly good Jeeves which...well, just remember that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, third-gen immigrants and indeed the 21st century are all involved in being British. It's basically...well, 'Anglo blackface' is going a bit far given our dodgy history with that stuff, but we can do better than that.

That said, we identified a British Problem today - that because we are so used to the heat, the summer clothing which came out once a year for a week or so for the past five years is no longer enough. A friend remarked that people were wearing some odd things because we're all running out of clothes - one guy was seen in a Stavros Flatley t-shirt, people I pass on my way home are walking down the road in faded shorts and defunct software logo shirts that were usually banished to the gym, and I saw someone wearing a fairly disgusting Hitler t-shirt, which I can only put down to heatstroke.

When I was little, sun cream was something you literally only bought if you were going on holiday - I never even used it until I was fourteen and my mother packed it alongside salt tablets for our first trip abroad to Greece. Thanks to the sun and quetiapine, I have to remember to put it on every morning even though I'm spending my lunchbreak crocheting in the coolest office in the building.
posted by mippy at 2:06 PM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


A brief indication of how unprepared the UK is for this kind of sustained weather is that unlike England, Scotland hasn't issued a heatwave warning. Not because it'll be any cooler than England, but because there is no official system in place to do so.

My boyfriend is from Fife and always complains about how hot it is down here. Mind you, he spends two months of the year with beetroot neck just because he's not used to weather hot enough to burn him.
posted by mippy at 2:10 PM on July 19, 2013


Also: I ate a curry for my tea last night. If it's good enough for India, it's good enough for SE19.

Plus, my cactus is growing like mad at the moment. It's put on two inches of growth in a month, and it's not even in a south-facing window (we don't have one). I'm worried next week it will gain sentience and start eating our fingers.
posted by mippy at 2:12 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The thing that's killing me here, being a Californian living in Northern England, is that people do not have a clue about how to do the whole windows/curtains/darkness thing during the day. I want to yell into all my neighbours flats-turned-greenhouses "HEY YOU ARE DOING IT ALL WRONG!!!" But yeah, otherwise I'm loving it. I just feel sorry for them...I mean, how do they sleep at night?

In another weather-related note, yesterday I beat my record and spotted eight different California t-shirts in a single day in downtown York. People here are livin' the dream!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Downbursts and raindevils in the street. Torrential downpour. YES
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:24 PM on July 19, 2013


I like to think that the hipsters of Huntingdon Beach are wandering round with artfully faded T-shirts reading 'ROCHDALE'.
posted by mippy at 2:25 PM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would have also accepted, "Have fun always carrying a light sweater!"

True shit. Although the pricing keeps me from moving to SF much more than the occasionally cool temps.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:30 PM on July 19, 2013


I don't think they do wear Rochdale T's, sadly, but I did find the hipster flat cap trend hilarious when it started. My Yorkshire Granddad and uncle with their flat caps, NHS glasses, and locally made wool trousers would fit right in in Brooklyn.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:33 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Go out in Durham or Newcastle in the middle of winter

we have a name here in michigan for your winters - we call them "spring"
posted by pyramid termite at 2:34 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I say! Over eighty-two degrees for nearly a fortnight? I think that's absolutely ghastly, and just can't imagine such a thing!
posted by Windopaene at 2:39 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My Yorkshire Granddad and uncle with their flat caps, NHS glasses, and locally made wool trousers would fit right in in Brooklyn.

It was in rural Ireland when it hit me, my entire fashion sense is basically Retired Farmer.
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on July 19, 2013


We don't say 'eighty-two degrees' here when it comes to the weather outside. That would be literally almost boiling point. Get with the program, Yankee, and YEE-HA.
posted by mippy at 2:41 PM on July 19, 2013


I bet steampunk people are absolutely boiling. And, like the Cure song, in the sunlight, all goths are grey.
posted by mippy at 2:44 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was required to wear a suit, outside, in midtown, in this heat, twice this week.

Never before has my door-to-shower time been that quick.
posted by The Whelk at 2:45 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Get with the program, Yankee, and YEE-HA.

We don't say "yankee" around here unless we mean someone from the northern wastelands of America. Get with the program, Limey!

Note: we do say "yee-haw" occasionally though.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 2:45 PM on July 19, 2013


Graham Stark: God it’s hot here today.
Twitter: BUT NOT AS HOT AS HERE!!
Graham Stark: Oh, you guys. I forgot it was contest :P
posted by straight at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2013


We just had a hell of a storm in Harrisburg pa.

Knocked out my cell and Internet for a bit which didn't even come close to happening during Sandy. It's actually below 90 while the sun is still out for the first time this week.
posted by sio42 at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2013


If we get through this without a power outage I will be be super impressed.
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on July 19, 2013


If you lot throw my tea in the 'harbor' then MEGAWAR is going to happen. So think on.

I did wonder today if I could make cold peppermint tea. You can get iced tea in Starbucks here, but I don't like sweet drinks that aren't to do with hot chocolate. I bought a bottle of flavoured water the other day because they didn't do plain in sufficiently large bottles, and my teeth nearly called a mutiny.
posted by mippy at 2:50 PM on July 19, 2013


Yeah your 200 year old house is nice and historical and all but my 5 year old building has something far more important: central air.

The 200 year old house will still be nice, historical, and cooler when the infrastructure won't support central air. Checkmate.

It's only 103 today down from 108. Thank the weather gods the climate is desertifying to the point that the nighttime temps are in the 70s. Open all the windows and it's good sleeping under a light blanket. We have no AC, but 85 seems pretty cool compared to triple digits. Trees, window shades, and ceiling fans--they'll save yer bacon (from frying.)

Mid 80s? Pah, put on a sweater.

Seriously, I am sorry for your troubles, dearest UK.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:50 PM on July 19, 2013


Graham Stark: God it’s hot here today.
Twitter: BUT NOT AS HOT AS HERE!!
Graham Stark: Oh, you guys. I forgot it was contest :P
posted by straight at 10:47 PM on July 19 [+] [!]


When all of Australia was actually on fire in January, the metafilter thread was still full of people saying "That's not that hot".
posted by dng at 2:51 PM on July 19, 2013


As an Irishman in the Bay Area, it amuses me no end that even when there's actual sunshine in Ireland, the weather is still better here (not necessarily hotter, just better). I'm no longer allowed to talk about the weather with people back home.
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:53 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


my entire fashion sense is basically Retired Farmer

Only a little way to go to Dipsomanic Landowner.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:54 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was in rural Ireland when it hit me, my entire fashion sense is basically Retired Farmer.


Or, possibly, down at heel landed gentry.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:55 PM on July 19, 2013


I...think I own that vest.

I have to rethink my life and my choices.
posted by The Whelk at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was in rural Ireland when it hit me, my entire fashion sense is basically Retired Farmer.

Or, possibly, down at heel landed gentry.


"I say, young Matt; dashed warm here today, what?" "Indeed, Mr Cortex; one may shortly be required to shed a layer of tweed in a manner which may attract the unwanted attention of ladies of a certain disposition."
posted by Wordshore at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2013


If you lot throw my tea in the 'harbor' then MEGAWAR is going to happen. So think on.

Well, the Boston Tea Party was in December, so I wonder if the harbor had ice in it and thus would be the Boston Iced Tea Party.

From my unsuccessful googling just now on that point, I found that:

1) The day after the tea was dumped, when it had washed up on shore, folks apparently went down and crushed it underfoot, adding insult to injury.

2) The amount of the mixture of mostly Ceylon and Darjeeling was not insignificant -- worth in the neighborhood of $1 million dollars nowadays or something over 20 million cups of tea.

3) The event was known as the more prosaic "The Destruction of the Tea" until a half-century later.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:03 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


(why is that a funny image that's just how people dress! What do you mean no they don't well that's thier fault.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:03 PM on July 19, 2013


I did wonder today if I could make cold peppermint tea.

Why. . . why would you NOT be able to?
posted by KathrynT at 3:05 PM on July 19, 2013


We just got the downpour, then the fake sun, then the ceremonial BLIP of a power outage to warn us who's in charge.

Been nice kno -- [second blip] -- wing you guys!

[waits for Net connection to come up again before hitting Post]
posted by maudlin at 3:07 PM on July 19, 2013


We don't say "yankee" around here unless we mean someone from the northern wastelands of America. Get with the program, Limey!

To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:08 PM on July 19, 2013 [28 favorites]


i dunno, I was thinking of iced coffee, where apparently the brew process is different rather than just 'let's make some normal coffee and stick it in the fridge'. I frequently mix up the water cooler tap and the kettle tap at work, so I know first hand that you can't make a decent cup of black tea this way.
posted by mippy at 3:11 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


but it is that temperature plus scalding tea inside us ALL THE TIME

HOT TEA IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE RICK
posted by elizardbits at 3:17 PM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


rick

rick

rick

put the kettle on i'm boiling
posted by emmtee at 3:27 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ceylon and Darjeeling

Deadly enemies in the Battlestar Galactica Tea War.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:31 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not a curmudgeon about sticking with imperial measurements, but offer this as proof that maybe F is better than C for non-science uses.
posted by maxwelton at 3:38 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


Mr. Roquette is of primarily English descent. He has that lovely, easily burnt English skin. We can't go anyplace when it is hot. I endure it quite a bit better than he does.
He is a generally good-natured man until he is too hot. I have learned to limit our outings to early in the day, or late enough that it has cooled off.
My ability to be fully dressed outdoors on hot days annoys him.
I am fairly cold adapted but that took many years, and probably some weight gain helped with that.
He handles cold better than heat.
He's also physically larger, I am sure that makes it harder to stay cool.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:40 PM on July 19, 2013


For those who dislike british people problems memes, you will dispise the queens own subreddit /r/INGLIN
posted by Ad hominem at 3:43 PM on July 19, 2013


Nah, that's like the Weird Twitter version of the Daily Mail.
posted by mippy at 3:45 PM on July 19, 2013


A friend remarked that people were wearing some odd things because we're all running out of clothes

Ha, yes! I had noticed this, but hasn't really figured why. But the office and trains are now filled with what in retrospect is holiday clobber from 2003. Rock those linen jeans, dudes.
posted by bonaldi at 4:00 PM on July 19, 2013


hot
posted by Flunkie at 4:12 PM on July 19, 2013


It's currently 82 at 7pm here in Atlanta. Today was unseasonably cool and only reached the mid 90s.
posted by Fleebnork at 4:17 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guys I just want you to know that I am currently en route from Baltimore to Richmond to play a basement show in a punk house. I played in a similarly un-airconditioned venue last night in Harrisburg pa and I have literally never sweated so much in my life. So I fully expect to actually die tonight. (Also I might do the unthinkable and play in shorts but I don't know if I can bring myself to take that step)
posted by capnsue at 4:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The way to make iced tea is to make really really strong regular tea and then pour it into a glass filled with ice cubes.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:44 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


ocschwar: “Now the Gulf Stream is stalled offshore of the other England, where it is NOT FUCKING NEEDED, THANK YOU, which has implications, since the Brits didn't lay down any of their plumbing to be freeze-proof, but that worry can wait a few months.”
NWS Environmental Modeling Center Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch Atlantic Real-Time Ocean Forecasting System for the Gulf Stream

Now I'm off to find an all-night laundromat or pants store.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:53 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The real problem with this weather is that I am normally about 2.5 catcalls away from aggravated homicide, so when it's 106 outside that 2.5 drops to about 0.00000000001.

I totally understand why the middle east has been at war for over 2,000 years.
posted by elizardbits at 4:57 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I was in London a few years ago during a terrible heat wave in Europe. It was nearly 100°f and terrible even though I had arrived from 100°f Austin. The difference was in the ATX the buildings are all air conditioned and set to cold.

I remember watching a morning chat show on TV on that trip where they did a live remote with a family that broke down and about a portable AC unit. They felt guilty about the damage to the environment but I could tell they were hooked on AC. They were all huddled around the unit like their ancestors might have huddled around a stove in winter.

I've spent my whole life living in hot places in the southwest. I was in Phoenix when it was 122°. That was hot. And I'd take 110° in Phoenix over 95° in Austin. My solution for dealing with the heat was to move to San Diego. 72° today.
posted by birdherder at 5:10 PM on July 19, 2013


Power was out for three hours. I heard at least three transformers explode in two minutes. Trees down all over. Maybe ten minutes of rain total. Much nicer outside now.

I'm a big guy and used to live in Florida. What one learns quickly in moist heat circumstances is to move slowly, if at all. Evaporation of sweat is unreliable. That is why folks from the South saunter, mosey and stroll. Any faster and y'all just melt.

About iced tea. You put like twenty bags in a clear glass gallon jug, fill it with fresh cold water, cap it, and put it in the sun. It steeps all day. Then you can decant it over ice sprinkled with sugar and a lemon slice (optional). Y'all need two jugs; one to brew, one to serve.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


9 PM here and still 87 degrees with humidity so high I don't want to think about it. I really would love some lower temperatures for a couple days. It was so hot today, I opened the front door, then came right back inside, too hot to screw with.
posted by SuzySmith at 6:02 PM on July 19, 2013


Everybody talks about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it.
This sounds like a job for pb.
posted by islander at 6:14 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here in New Jersey, where it's been in the too humid 90s for days, my lawn (I can't call it grass) has broken the midsummer contract and has kept on growing. At this point, it should be browner than midwinter. I blame the 10 inches of rain we had in June.
posted by mollweide at 6:15 PM on July 19, 2013


Not to be that billionth guy, but why don't you buy one of those wall mounted air conditioners that are fucking ubiquitous in Asia? Or shit, buy a window mounted AC like I have here in Minneapolis, where temperature regularly fluctuates between 105F and -30F. Sometimes, you can find one for a good price, but they aren't that expensive. Cool one room and hang out there.

That being said, I've been fortunate to experience three of what the UK calls seasons. Winter is awesome, it's cold everywhere that isn't by a heater or fire. Summer was hilarious. It was so damn hot in the Tube, we paid for taxis. Spring was the best time, the wedding was outstanding. Late spring in "The Wash" was really colorful.
posted by Sphinx at 6:22 PM on July 19, 2013


For example, here in Toronto, my apartment has one woefully inadequate air conditioner jammed in the kitchen window. The temperature in my kitchen hasn't dropped below 82 with the AC going full blast in over a week. Even at dawn, it's usually around 85 in the kitchen. 90ish elsewhere in the apartment. It doesn't help that the overnight low has been around 80 all week.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:58 PM on July 19 [1 favorite +] [!]


Eponyunderstandable.

After days and weeks of humid misery just outside of Toronto, the cold front of which our forefathers spoke finally hit us around 7:00 PM tonight. The temperature in my backyard dropped from 38 to 24 in ten minutes (that is from 99 to 75 F for readers in the USA, Cayman Islands, Palau, Bahamas and Belize) and the humidity from areyoufuckingkiddingme percent to quite pleasant. Best part: the storm has gone on and off for three hours now, and at one point I sat in the backyard for a bit to watch it. A few scattered droplets of rain, but for the fifteen minutes I was there, the lightning and rolling thunder were near-continuous. I doubt there was a three-second stretch in that time where some segment of the sky was not lit up, either with flashing clouds or big jagged forks of light. Nice.

Hey ho the holly; this life is most jolly.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:48 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thunderstorms ahead of the sweet, delicious relief of a cold front are rolling into my Chicago burb right now.
posted by Fig at 6:50 PM on July 19, 2013


Places like Chicago or St. Louis are almost as hot as Rome in summer, and about as cold as Oslo in winter.

Yeah, I've been so busy this year that summer kind of snuck up on me, until a few days ago I was like, "Huh, it's kind of warm inside. Oh, that's because it's 90 degrees outside." Yay St. Louis.
posted by limeonaire at 8:03 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


rabbitrabbit: "This is all pretty funny from over here in western Oregon, where the average low temp is 40F and the average high temp is 69F. Ha ha ha."

It wasn't so funny last year when we had a 108F record high and nobody builds housing with air conditioning.
posted by pwnguin at 8:27 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did wonder today if I could make cold peppermint tea.

You can and it is easy and worth it -

1. Get some kind of jug or bottle or some such.
2. For every 8oz. Water the jug holds, drop in a peppermint tea bag. Use the kind that is just peppermint leaves.
3. Fill with water.
4. Stick in your fridge and wait at least an hour.

I just leave the bags right in there until all the peppermint iced tea is gone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Chicago, the Chicago Fire Department has actually been hosing down the hinged bridges that are raised and lowered for tall river craft. From what little I could gather from my suburban perspective, the heat has been so bad that the bridges would have expanded so much they would have been unable to raise the two segments that meet in the middle over the river.

We're supposed to have a high of 84F tomorrow with lower humidity which, if we do, would be astonishingly welcome.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:23 PM on July 19, 2013


London Under Water
posted by homunculus at 10:11 PM on July 19, 2013


1) Cold-brewed, or "sun-brewed", teas and tisanes are the best, and
1a) Get an immense Mason jar.

2) Ballard's "Drowned World" is a great read, especially during these shitty months of summer.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:32 PM on July 19, 2013


The Drowned/Burning World: Is J.G. Ballard’s dystopian prophecy of mankind’s future coming early?
posted by homunculus at 11:37 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The heat this year has been oppressive and miserable, and add me to the club of people who would weep with joy if the high tomorrow was going to be in the 80's. It's 80 now, and it's past midnight. Looking at 100's and 90's for the foreseeable future, and my only consolation is that I do not live in a state with ungodly humidity.

Concur with the sun-brewed iced tea.
posted by freejinn at 11:42 PM on July 19, 2013


Sphinx: Not to be that billionth guy, but why don't you buy one of those wall mounted air conditioners that are fucking ubiquitous in Asia? Or shit, buy a window mounted AC like I have here in Minneapolis, where temperature regularly fluctuates between 105F and -30F. Sometimes, you can find one for a good price, but they aren't that expensive. Cool one room and hang out there.

I've gone looking. They do not exist in the UK. I repeat: you can't find window box a/c units in any shops over here. You can find wheeled vent-via-a-pipe-out-the-window a/c units: they start at £400 (that's $600) and go up from there.

Also note that some of us live in areas with strict planning regulations that prohibit installing such potential eyesores without a formal planning application. And in some cases, such eyesores are flat-out banned. (I live in such an area. UNESCO World Heritage Site FTW.)

Again: less than 0.5% of British homes have air conditioning.
posted by cstross at 3:22 AM on July 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not to be that billionth guy, but why don't you buy one of those wall mounted air conditioners that are fucking ubiquitous in Asia?

Clueless. Quite clueless.

They might be ubiquitous in Asia, but the last time I looked, the UK was not in Asia.
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:36 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Air conditioning just makes it even hotter outside, necessitating even more air conditioning inside, in a death spiral all the way to the eventual Venusing of everything.
posted by dng at 3:43 AM on July 20, 2013


This cartoon on the New Yorker Facebook wall.
posted by Wordshore at 4:08 AM on July 20, 2013


It's currently close to 50 C here in Kurdistan. Oddly enough, I'm not spending much time outside. Thank goodness for ice.
posted by arcticseal at 4:51 AM on July 20, 2013


Real Question: Does England have basements? Unlike what half of the people in this thread are asserting, there are plenty of people (and shops and workplaces!) in the Northern US that don't have A/C, even in portable window-unit form, but I know I beat the Chicago summer heat as a kid by camping out in the basement whenever possible. I still do that in my apartment block, despite the fact that the basement isn't technically mine and unfinished. It might be a haven for spiders, but it's cool enough to sleep in. Also, people'd sleep on the porches if they had them, but I figured out that England isn't big on porches.

The assertion that everything is built for cold weather in England is also clearly wrong, since England also has infrastructure issues every time it gets snow that sticks or if it stays below freezing for too long.

Also, if you come from a culture that feels like it needs to switch from C to F in the summer to exaggerate the temperature differentials, I get to call you a wimp.

What people who aren't from the Midwest have to understand is that being able to brag about how we always have shittier weather is one of the few joys we get from having shittier weather in the first place. Also, we enjoy a 70 degree day more than non-midwesterners ever could, because we understand their true value. I got to be so smug last week in San Juan when people kept on asking me how I was able to take the heat, and being able to tell them that it had actually been hotter in Minneapolis than it was there by about 10 degrees.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:36 AM on July 20, 2013


Yeah, I guess that's what I don't understand is that England's infrastructure doesn't seem to be able to handle ANY extremes. Boston (where I used to live) keeps running from 0F-100F (-17C-38C) without melting roads or shut down rail or whatever, and England only seems to be able to handle about 4C-22C. I'm just a little stunned that even if you're trying to optimize infrastructure that there's an option for "little to no variation" as opposed to "optimized for cold", "optimized for hot", or "across the board." It's just really really surprising to me. Not judging, just surprised.

But yeah I've been spending the last week enjoying my marina-side shaded balcony in 22-27C temps thinking how effing perfect the weather is. Perfect Mediterranean, if you ask me, which is my favorite climate ever.

And how can we forget the great British contribution to hot weather beverages: the Pimm's Cup? ::takes momentary typing break to text husband to pick up strawberries and mint::

That said I do wish iced tea were more common here. Also reminds me of my Brit/Aussie husband and my trip to Texas around Christmastime where we went for breakfast and asked for a cup of tea, and we were brought two giant glasses of iced tea. Sweet tea, of course. His reaction was pretty funny.
posted by olinerd at 6:58 AM on July 20, 2013


Yeah, I guess that's what I don't understand is that England's infrastructure doesn't seem to be able to handle ANY extremes ... England only seems to be able to handle about 4C-22C.

Very correct. It's due to two combined things:

- a lack of investment in weather-proofed infrastructure
- a lack of general investment in any kind of infrastructure

What gets really annoying is that, without fail, every winter there is widespread disruption caused by snow. Just needs an inch or two, and then trains are cancelled or stranded, flights delayed, roads impassable, the works. Then spokespeople for the various councils, transport companies and airports will appear on TV news and defend their lack of snow clearing equipment, and vehicles that can move in the 'extremes' of, say, two inches of snow and 30F/-1C with:

"This is such a rare event, it isn't cost effective to invest in equipment and vehicles."

Except that is a straight lie; nothing else. Let's take January, a winter month and therefore surely not a huge surprise that there is cold and snowy weather.

2013 - Britain in the snow seen from above
2012 - Wales snow: Met Office warning of ice on roads
2011 - Near rail miss at Carstairs blamed on snow and ice.
2010 - Snowfall causes hazardous driving
2009 - Big freeze expected to hit the UK
2008 - Snow alert after gale force winds
2007 - Warnings as heavy snow predicted

To add icing (no pun intended) to the cake, it's not as though the train companies don't have money coming in to pay for adequate infrastructure...
posted by Wordshore at 7:48 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, this will be an annual thread, right? Climate is a huge system, and I've resisted crying Climate Change through heat waves and cold waves and lots of crazy weather, but Maine this summer has felt like the Ohio Valley, where I grew up. Hot, humid and stormy. I'm able to avoid installing AC by spending time in the lake near my house, drinking iced tea (1/3 tea, 1/3 lemonade, 1/3 ice) and using lots of fans. I feel bad for people in hotter weather or without ways to cool off.
posted by theora55 at 8:14 AM on July 20, 2013


Don't underestimate the social advantages of being seen to suffer through a modest hardship whilst remaining in good spirits. And having bombs fall out of the sky in living memory. If our Gran could manage that, we can sweat, and without a fuss.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:16 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's hot as hell!
posted by homunculus at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wordshore: [Various councils and other groups say] "This is such a rare event, it isn't cost effective to invest in equipment and vehicles."

They don't mean rare in the sense that it doesn't happen every year; they mean rare as in it only happens for, say, one or two weeks out of the year. And in a time when council and local authority budgets are being squeezed by the national government all the time – right down to the point where local authorities are shuttering many of their libraries, cutting back on social care responsibilities, and a whole host of other noxious cuts – the decision basically comes down to: "do we spend another £300k on snowploughs, gritting equipment and a mountain of salt that we may end up not needing, or do we spend that money on [social services/child protection/leisure centres/schools/libraries] and wing it in the event that the snowfall is bad enough to fuck things right up for a week in January."

Yeah, it's a decision that, in an ideal world wouldn't have to be made, but I kind of can't find too much fault with the process that leads to the eventual outcome. At least for local authority spending. Heathrow's owners deciding they can completely get away with skimping on runway clearance procedures, or train operating companies deciding "fuck it, we're not eating into our profits for that", can go fuck themselves.
posted by Len at 11:51 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


> 2) Ballard's "Drowned World" is a great read, especially during these shitty months of summer.

If you're looking for another paperback envirobummer, I suggest The Sheep Look Up.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:28 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Air conditioning just makes it even hotter outside, necessitating even more air conditioning inside, in a death spiral all the way to the eventual Venusing of everything.

Right, but if I turn mine off, it is horrible and I suffer. If I leave it on all day and all night for 3 months, no one suffers and my house is icy and delightful. The actions of one person electing to eschew A/C will not save the world from global warming. Hell, the actions of 100,000 people electing to turn off their a/c's wouldn't stop it. I agree that walking down an unbearably hot street under intermittent blasts of even hotter a/c exhaust is vile, though.

tl;dr everything remains terrible
posted by elizardbits at 1:51 PM on July 20, 2013


Some houses in England may have basements but the majority of people do not own one. Also, basements here are generally damp and musty. Ask anyone who has ever been to a pub.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:39 PM on July 20, 2013


I guess I chose the wrong time to get Glandular Fever... yuck!
posted by welovelife at 6:36 AM on July 21, 2013


Dear London -

New York has finally gotten some relief; I promise I'll totally share with you once I'm done with the cold front. ...in, like, mid-August.

Cheers, EC
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on July 21, 2013


I also commend Sweet Tea unto you, but I'd like to mention another beverage from the South: the mint julep. Despite growing up in Virginia and having a Georgian grandmother, I never tried one until my late 20s. It was not the wimpy "lady's" drink I had imagined. It was potent.

I don't know if it will cool you off, but I predict it will make you care less about being hot.
posted by at home in my head at 10:00 AM on July 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Beating the heat with a refrigerated space helmet
posted by homunculus at 10:15 AM on July 21, 2013


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